How nonprofits are dealing with pandemic


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Downside Up supports people with special needs, particularly children and their family.

And, they’re doing what they can to navigate helping their families and the community while in a pandemic.

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“A lot of our individuals with special needs, many of them are medically fragile or it affects them more drastically. So it has been scary just open it up. You know, so we’ve just had super small groups and been very protective of keeping everything clean and making sure that we’re safe,” Downside Up CEO, Founder Theresa Nix said.

Events help fundraising and raise awareness for nonprofits, but the coronavirus world is forcing organizations to think outside the box to continue to reach out to the community.

“I think now we’re starting to realize that we can’t predict when things are going to get better and I think we just kind of have to adapt and figure out new ways to help the animals,” Hamilton County Humane Educational Society Director of Fundraising and Special Events Taylor Hixson said.

After having to cancel some events, the Humane Educational Society is trying something new, a virtual pup crawl.

“You’ll pick up your pup crawl kit here at the humane society,” Hixson said.

“You’ll receive an email from us about each of the beers you have. So you’ll actually have a video from the brewer who actually brewed the beer that tells you a little bit about the brewing process. What to expect from that beer.”

The State of Tennessee recently announced 150 million dollars from the federal government for coronavirus relief funds to nonprofits through the Tennessee Community CARES Program.

The United Way of Greater Chattanooga is a grant administrator.

“This funding is specifically for organizations who have had to shift staff or hire people to respond to COVID-19. For direct expenses related to helping those in the community affected by COVID-19,” United way of Greater Chattanooga President, CEO Lesley Scearce said.

Scearce said that it’s important for nonprofits to make sure they’re eligible.

“Something that may be a little confusing that this funding is not, it does not exempt, just help with nonprofit recovery meaning any nonprofit in the community who has struggled and has lost donations during the season. this isn’t meant to shore up your operations,” she said.

Grant applications are open and available until August 15th.